Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor Name Roulette

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 
 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

1) What year was one of your great-grandmothers born?  Divide this number by 90 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ah
nentafel" - 
your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

Here's mine:  

1)  My great-grandmother, Julia (White) Richmond was born  in 1848.  Dividing by 90 gives me a roulette number of 20.53, rounded up to 21.

2)  #21 on my Ancestral Name List is Hannah (Rich) Richman/Richmond.  Here is the vital record information I have for Hannah (Rich) Richmond:

Hannah Rich was born on 14 April 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England, the daughter of John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich. She died on 8 August 1911 at the age of 87 in Putnam, Windham, Connecticut, United States. Hannah married 7 September 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England to James Richman.  He was born before 8 April 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England, the son of John and Ann (Marshman) Richman.  James Richmond died on 20 December 1912 in Putnam, Windham, Connecticut, United States at the age of 91.

3)  Three Facts:

*  Hannah Rich was baptized on 9 February 1837 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England along with some of her siblings.  Her family was Non-Conformist for some time.

*  Hannah Richman (age 32, female, wife, origin Great Britain), James Richman (age 7, male, child), Thomas Richman (age 6, male, child), Louisa Richman (age 4, female, child), Elizabeth Richman (age 2, female, child) and Ann Richman (infant, female, child) were passengers on the ship Osprey, which sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, arriving in New York City on 14 November 1856.

*  Hannah (Rich) Richmond was buried in Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, Windham, Connecticut in a plot with her husband, James Richmond on one side of the stone, and her sons, Frederic J. Richmond and Thomas Richmond, plus Thomas Richmond's wife, Julia (White) Richmond on the other side of the gravestone.

4)  I did!

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - WALKER (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers, up to number 535: Ruth WALKER (1692-1752). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through four American generations of this WALKER family is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

66. Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

132.  Simon Gates (1739-1803)
133.  Susannah Reed (1745-1833)

266.  Nathan Reed (1719-1802)
267.  Susannah Wood (1724-1780)

534.  Josiah Wood, born 31 August 1687 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 04 January 1753 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1068. Josiah Wood and 1069. Abigail Bacon.  He married 1710 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

535.  Ruth Walker, born 04 December 1692 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died March 1751/52 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Josiah Wood and Ruth Walker are:  Josiah Wood (1711-1730); John Wood (1713-1752); Joseph Wood (1715-????); Edward Wood (1718-????); Ruth Wood (1720-1744); Solomon Wood (1722-1790); Susannah Wood (1724-1780); Mary Wood (1726-1775); Phebe Wood (1729-????).

1070.  John Walker, born 02 July 1665 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 29 April 1699 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.   He married 09 November 1691 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1071.  Ruth Kendall, born 17 February 1674/75 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 29 July 1730 in Hopkinton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2142. Thomas Kendall and 2143. Ruth Blodgett.

Children of John Walker and Ruth Kendall are:  Ruth Walker (1692-1752); Edward Walker (1694-1787).

2140.  Samuel Walker, born 28 June 1643 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 18 January 1703/04 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 10 September 1662 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
2141.  Sarah Reed, born about 1638 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 01 November 1681 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4282. William Reed and 4283. Mabel Kendall.

Children of Samuel Walker and Sarah Reed are:  Edward Walker (1663-1690); John Walker (1665-1699); Samuel Walker (1667-1744); Sarah Walker (1670-1704); Timothy Walker (1672-1706).

4280.  Samuel Walker, born about 1617 in England; died 06 November 1684 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1643 in probably Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
4281.  Anna Sheldon, born about 1620 in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England; died before 1677 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Samuel Walker and Anna Sheldon are:  Samuel Walker (1643-1704); Joseph Walker (1645-1729); Hannah Walker (1647-1648); Hannah Walker (1648-1686); Israel Walker (1648-1719); John Walker (1650-1724); Benjamin Walker (1651-1653.

Information about these Walker families were obtained from:

*  Arthur G. Loring and William R. Cutter, "Samuel Walker of Woburn, Mass. and Some of his Descendants," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 57, Number 4 (October 1903,) page 350.

*  Massachusetts Town Vital Records and Middlesex County Probate Records.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, November 2, 2012

WikiTree Announces Automated Matching

This announcement was received from Elyse Doerflinger and Chris Whitten of WikiTree: 

WikiTree Introduces Automated Matching

2 Nov 2012: is excited to announce the release of “MatchBot”, a new automated matching tool.

 WikiTree members are dedicated to growing a single, shared family tree with one profile for every ancestor. There are currently over four million profiles. However, some of these are duplicate profiles that have been created unintentionally, especially via GEDCOM imports.

Until now, WikiTree members have relied on traditional searches and WikiTree’s FindMatches tool which searches a member’s entire Watchlist for matches. While FindMatches will continue to be an important WikiTree function, the process of performing periodic searches to check for new duplicates can be a burden. The solution: MatchBot.

MatchBot searches the WikiTree database every night looking for high-probability matches among its records. When one is found, the managers of both profiles are e-mailed a merge proposal and invited to compare the two profiles side-by-side.

 After comparing the profiles, the managers can choose to confirm the match and proceed with the merge, or create an Unmerged Match if the profiles represent the same person but aren’t ready to be merged. If the profiles represent different people, the profile managers can reject the match so that the two profiles won’t be matched in the future.

“We’re psyched about MatchBot,” says WikiTree founder Chris Whitten. “This new feature will connect a lot of cousins and make collaboration more productive and enjoyable. Most importantly, MatchBot will further our community’s mission to grow a single family tree instead of many separate member trees.”

MatchBot adds to the various methods in which WikiTree members are alerted via e-mail:

  • G2G (genealogist-to-genealogist) Q&A Forum: When someone responds to a question, the person who posted the question receives an e-mail notification.
  • Public Comments: When a public comment is posted on a profile, the profile manager is alerted.
  • Private Messages: Members can be contacted privately with an e-mail without publicly revealing their e-mail address.
  • Watchlist Update: A once-a-week update summarizes all changes and additions to the profiles in the member’s Watchlist.

All services on WikiTree are free for all members; there are no “premium” member services at WikiTree.

About WikiTree: Growing since 2008, is a 100% free shared family tree website that balances privacy and collaboration. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same syste
m this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See


I'm excited about this announcement. This should promote matching of persons in my WikiTree families with persons in other submitters trees.  While we sleep...  I haven't tried it yet because I'm on the road in Topeka, Kansas today, but I will when I return home and have some time to work on it next week.   

  The URL for this post is:

What Happened to Cousin Edith?

I've tried to enrich my genealogy database over the years by trying to find descendants of the siblings of my ancestral families.  I've been fairly successful adding dates, places, events and relationships to the siblings, and descendants of the siblings, using online resources at websites like,,,,,, etc.

However, there are times I've made a mistake, but sometimes I figure out what's right and what's not.  This happened this past week, as I searched for descendants of Edith Kemp, one of my first cousins twice removed.  Her father, James A. Kemp (1872-1934) and my great-grandmother, Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952), were siblings who both ended up in Southern California.  James A. Kemp married Bertha Fuller (1874-1951) and the family resided in Los Angeles, California.

Here is my research path as I reconstruct it, and I offer some lessons learned at the end of it:

1)  There is no birth record for Edith Kemp in the California Birth Index, 1905-1995 (now on with a mother's name of Fuller.

2)  The 1910 U.S. Census entry for the James A. Kemp family in Lakeside, San Diego, California has three children, including daughter Edith Kemp, age 6, born in California (found on

3)  The 1920 U.S. Census for the James A. Kemp family in Calumet, Fallon, Montana includes daughter Edith M. Kemp, age 16, born in California (found in

4)  The 1930 U.S. Census finds James and Bertha Kemp residing in El Monte, Los Angeles, California, but there is no listing for Edith Kemp (born 1903 +/- 2 in California), including given name and surname permutations, but there are over 700 listings for an Edith (no surname, 1903 +/- 2 born California, etc.).  Too many.  Perhaps Edith died or was married.

5)  The 1940 U.S. Census finds no Edith Kemp, James Kemp (died 1933) or Bertha Kemp (with given name and surname permutations) residing in Los Angeles County, California.

And there it stood until I tried to get creative.  Since the 1920 Census was taken on 1 January 1920, i t appears that Edith M. Kemp (age 16) was born in 1903.

6)  I searched the California Death Index, 1940-1997 on for an Edith, born 1903, mother's maiden name Fuller.  There is an Edith Louise Kemp, born 21 December 1903 in Pennsylvania, mother's maiden name Fuller, died 14 November 1980 in Los Angeles County, California.

Here's the mistake - I added the birth and death dates to my database at this point in time, and merrily went searching for her husband.  The middle name of Louise and the birthplace of Pennsylvania did not strike me as important at the time - the birth year and mother's maiden name had me convinced that this was Edith Kemp..

7)  I found Edith Niemeyer in the 1940 U.S. Census with husband Leo, and daughters (at least of Leo) - Patricia (age 7), Paula (age 6) and Mary (age 4).

I added the family names to my database, with approximate birth years and birthplaces..

8)  I checked the California Death Index for Leo, and found Leo's death date of 12 February 1955 in Los Angeles County, California.

9)  I checked the California Birth Index, 1905-1995 on, for the three known children, and found birthdates and birthplaces for two of them, but the mother's maiden name was listed as Drumm.

Uh oh, RED FLAG.  Did I have the wrong Edith?  Did Edith Kemp marry a Drumm before she married Leo Niemeyer?

10)  A check of the 1930 U.S. Census revealed no Edith married to a Drumm (or surname variants) in California.  There is a single Edith L. Drum born 1905 in Burbank, with a mother Alice ... hmmm, that may be the Edith who married Leo.

11)  I checked for Leo Niemeyer and found an excellent memorial for him, which listed his birth and death dates, his marriage to Edith Louise Drum in August 1931, and a transcription of an obituary that listed his children.  There was a link to Edith's memorial also, with her birth date (21 December 1904 in the memorial, not 1903), death date, and links to her parents (including mother Alice).  There was also a link to one daughter's record on Find-A-Grave.

I decided, based on the evidence at hand, that Edith M. Kemp, daughter of James A. and Bertha (Fuller) Kemp, did not marry Leo I unlinked Edith from Leo, added Edith Louise Drumm to the database, and saved all of the information in these records in my genealogy database (since I had worked hard to find them).  I now need to unlink Edith from Leo in my online trees also.

So that leaves the question - what happened to Cousin Edith?  I went back into the, GenealogyBank and Chronicling America newspaper collections, and was not able to find a record for her.  I checked the California Death Index, 1905-1939 on and 1940-1997 for an Edith Kemp and did not find her.  She may be in the over 700 Ediths in the 1930 U.S. census in California born between 1901-1905.

Perhaps a descendant of Edith M. Kemp, or a descendant of a sibling of Edith, if there are any, will read this and contact me with information about Edith Kemp.

Lessons learned:

*  Be more careful adding information to my database before finding other records.  I.e., do a reasonably exhaustive search.

*  Don't assume that because first name, birth year  and mother's maiden name are correct that the listing in a database is for the person you think it is.  Remember that ASSUME does not mean reality...I feel like I failed Genealogy 101 here!

*  My need for blog fodder can make me write about my mistakes so that they can be held up as a bad example!

What resources do you think I've missed in this search?  What corners have I cut?  What else would you search?  What lessons did you learn from my experience?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"RootsMagic Workshop" on Sunday, 4 November at Bonita Library

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society Workshop will be on Sunday, 4 November from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road) in the Community Room. 

 The topic will be ”RootsMagic 5 Workshop – Part 2” led by Randy Seaver. We had the first workshop in August. Many users requested a second workshop devoted to answering questions about using RootsMagic 5 genealogy software on their PC or Mac computers. 

Some of the more advanced features of RootsMagic 5 we will explore include:

*  The Web Search feature - how to search from within RootsMagic to find records in online sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.

*  The To-Do List - how to create and maintain To-Do items

*  The  Research Manager - how to create and maintain research logs

*  Problem Reports - how to find potential errors in your database

*  Media Gallery - how to manage media, including tagging persons and events

*  Book Publisher  - how to write a book about your family, including media, charts, etc. 

Randy will solicit questions before the workshop, and during the workshop, about using RootsMagic 5. Bring your laptop with RootsMagic 5 installed so you can work along with Randy.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1880 U.S. Census Record for D.J. Carringer Family

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is the 1880 United States Census record for my Carringer great-great-grandparents and their family in Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado:

The entry for the D. J. Carringer family is:

The extracted information for the family, residing in Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado, taken on 19 June 1880, is:

*   D.J. Carringer -- white, male, age 51, married, a carpenter and joiner, born Penn., parents born Penn./Penn
*  Rebecca Carringer -- white, female, age 48, wife, married, keeping house, born Penn., parents born Penn./Penn.
*  Harvey E. Carringer -- white, male, age 27, son, single, farming, born Penn., parents born Penn./Penn.
*  Henry A. Carringer -- white, male, age 26, son, single, millwright and carpenter, born Penn., parents born Penn./Penn.

The source citation for this census entry is:

1880 United States Federal Census, Boulder County, Colorado, Population Schedule, Boulder: Page 525B (stamped), Dwelling #11, Family #11, D.J. Carringer household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 89.

For me, the most interesting information in this record are the occupations of D.J. and his sons.  I don't see any information on this record that was incorrect.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hallowe'en Name Whacking

I updated my Hallowe'en Names in the WorldConnect Database post from last year:

There are a number of families in the Rootsweb WorldConnect database at  that have surnames connected to Hallowe'en. For instance:

1) The GHOST surname - there are 561 entries, including the descendants of Philip Ghost of Westmoreland County PA - see 6 generations here. It looks like at least one GHOST from this family is still living.

2) The GOBLIN surname - there are 51 entries. It looks like there are no real GOBLIN family trees - only isolated GOBLIN women who married men with other surnames.

3) The SKELETON surname - there are 438 entries but few trees with many generations. Methinks these are mostly misspelled SKELTON people (68,129).

4) The FRANKENSTEIN surname - There are 1,342 entries, and most of them are of German origin. One family that settled in Rochester NY is here. There is one Frank N. Stein here.

5) The WITCH surname - there are 139 entries, but no long family lines in the database. Some of those listed were accused of witchcraft.

6) The PUMPKIN surname - there are 73 entries, but no long family lines.  There are 351 entries for a given name of PUMPKIN.  

7) The HAUNT surname - there are only 6 entries, none with a family line.  There are 2 persons with the first name of HAUNT.

8) The SPOOK surname - there are 28 entries, and only one with a three generation family. There are 42 entries for people with a given name of Spook and 28 for the first name of Spooky (at least one dog!)

9) The GHOUL surname - there are 47 entries.

10) The JACKO surname has 333 entries, and there are 99 entries with a given name of Jacko..

11) The LANTERN surname has 297 entries. But there are no people named Jack O. Lantern.  

12) There are 254 CAT surname entries and 11,268 CATT entries. There is one Black Cat name.

13) There are 20 SCARY surname entries - many of them still living. There are 80 entries for a given name of Scary.

14) There are 56 DRACULA surname entries, many of them are related to The Count. There are 50 entries for a given name of DRACULA.

15) There are 536 CEMETERY entries, some of them the name of actual cemetery databases.

16)  There are 4,245 GRAVE surname entries, and 313,214 GRAVES surname entries.  

17)  There are 147,785 entries for the surname COFFIN.  

18) There are 2,498 MONSTER entries. No Monster Mash, though (there are 3,015 surname entries for MASH). There are no "Boris Pickett" persons, but there are 13 entries for BOBBY PICKETT.

19) There are 926 SKULL surname entries.

20) There are 95 SPIRIT entries. There are 3 entries for a Holy Spirit with a spouse named Mary, with a child.

21) There are 544,479 surname entries for WEBB, but only 5 entries for "Spider WEBB" (all nicknames)

22) There are 208 entries for SCREECH surname. And 44 entries for a given name or nickname of Screech.

23) There are 5 entries for HALLOWEEN surname - even a Mary Halloween.  There are 110 given name entries for HALLOWEEN (including maiden names).

24) There are no VAMPIRE surname entries, and 1 given name entry.

25) There are 18,764 BROOM surname entries.

26) There are 149 BAT surname entries, 16,822 BATT surname entries and 10,829 BATTY surname entries.  There are 725 entries for BATTY as a given name.

27) There are no ZOMBIE surname entries or given name entries. Whew!

28)  There are 54,197 entries for the surname BLOOD.

29)  The surname DEATH has 11,225 entries.

30)  The 
TRICK surname has 3,935 surname entries and TREAT surname has 62,237 entries!

31)  he surname WARLOCK has 75 entries, but there are 40 given name entries 

32)  There are 2 surname entries for WEREWOLF, both married to the same Lucky guy!

33)  There are 78 given name entries for BOO.

Enough!! What other Hallowe'en oriented surnames can you think of? Are they in WorldConnect?

Happy Hallowe'en!! Trick or Treat? published a press release back in 2006 with Hallowe'en census entries - see the list here.

The blog published some entries from death records in Who would name their daughter Halloween? Just check the records.

John D. Reid posted some Hallowe'en names and occupations  in Halloween fun from in 2009.

Craig Manson posted Halloween Census Whacking in 2009 for some of the names above.

Chris Dunham did some Census Whacking on Hallowe'en names in Censuswhacking for Halloween in 2005.

Did I miss a post on Hallowe'en names?  If so, please tell me and I'll add it to my list.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 229: 1960 Hallowe'en Costumes

 I am posting photographs from my family collections for (Not So) Wordless Wednesday (you know me, I can't go wordless!).

Here is a photograph from the Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill family collection handed down from my Aunt Marion in 2000 after her passing. 

This is a Hallowe'en costume picture from about 1960 in San Diego.  The three kids are Randy, Scott (in the Lion costume, holding his head) and Stan.  Our mother made the costume (or bought it ... I'm not sure).  Why don't Randy and Stan have a costume?  Well, we've outgrown the deal (I was 17!) - we just went trick or treating for the candy on the way down to and back from to the Hallowe'en carnival at Brooklyn School.  Scotty was really into it, though, and was a great lure for the candy contributors to open the door.

Check out the flattops!  Butch Wax worked!  Stan had a ducktail in back, but I could never get my hair to do it.  

I think that this is the only Hallowe'en picture that I have in my digital photo collection.  It took awhile to find it!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Randy: How Do You Craft a World War Draft Registration Citation

A reader asked this question last week:  "I'm in the process of updating my source citations from Free Form to the appropriate one for the type of source. I wonder what you use for the draft registrations you find?"

My response:  

Asking me about source citations is dangerous!  I use Free-form sources crafted in RootsMagic 5 for almost everything, but I also used the "Draft Registration, Images" template in RootsMagic 5 in order to use as a model for the free-form citation.  (I use free-form because it GEDCOMs better than any template citation.)

Here is the source citation (Footnote) crafted using the "Draft Registration, Image" template in RootsMagic 5:

"U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, ( : accessed 9 October 2010), Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster City, Draft Board 14, Frederick Walton Seaver entry, dated 18 September 1918; citing Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.

The text in red is in the Source fields, and the text in blue is in the Source Detail fields.

Here is the free-form source citation (red for Source, blue for Details) which I crafted based on the RootsMagic 5 source template:

"U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, ( :, accessed 9 October 2010); Frederick Walton Seaver entry, 18 September 1918; ), Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster City, Draft Board 14, Frederick Walton Seaver entry, dated 18 September 1918; citing Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. 

Here is a sample source citation (First Reference Note) from Evidence! Explained:

“World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918,” digital images, ( : accessed 1 February 2007), Christopher Ferraci, serial no. 1251, order no. 367, Draft Board 7, Rochester, Monroe County, New York; citing World War I Selective
Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; no specific roll cited.

So, I was pretty close with both crafted citations.  I should have included the serial and order numbers on the registration card.  Some differences: I put the county, state and city before the person's name; included the "Selective Service System" creator name; did not italicize the "World War I ..." part in the free-form citation; and there is an extraneous comma before "citing..." in the Free-form citation that I cannot eliminate.  

Now I'm curious how well the source citation templates in Legacy Family Tree 7.5 and Family Tree Maker 2012 perform this task. 

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Winner of Second Genea-Musings Ancestry Membership Contest

The second Genea-Musings Contest to Win a 3-Month Ancestry World Explorer Membership is over...

There were 78 entrants with the correct answer to my questions, and almost everyone obeyed the rules to the letter.  I saved them all in one email file folder, listed by email reception time.

After the contest was closed on Sunday night, I went to and entered 78 into the maximum number field and clicked on the "Generate" button.

#46 was the winner!  On my email list, the 46th entry was Debi Austen of Black Diamond, Washington. 

I passed Debi's email to my contact at, and then I emailed Debi with my congratulations. 

As part of this contest sponsored by, Debi can select one of her friends to win another 3-Month World Explorer Membership.  How cool is that?

Only one entry missed the right answer.  The answer to the question was from the Social Security Death Index:

Name:  Ronald Wilson Reagan
Born: 6 Feb 1911
Died: 5 Jun 2004
State and date issued:  Iowa (before 1951)
Last residence:  90024, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA

Most of the entrants used, which had all of the requested information.  Some used,,, and to find the right answers.

Don't forget that Ancestry's Death Records Contest continues this week - check it out at

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - Check Out Iowa Record Collections on FamilySearch

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Look for Iowa ancestral records in the FamilySearch Record Collections.

There are 8 collections for Iowa records in the FamilySearch Record Collections (put "Iowa" in the search box in the upper left-hand cvorner at

The available collections include:

*  Iowa Births and Christenings, 1830-1950 (676,909 indexed records)

*  Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 (398,901 indexed records)

*  Iowa Marriages, 1809-1992 (1,128,389 indexed records)

*  Iowa County Marriages, 1838-1934 (1,818,450 indexed records)

*  Iowa State Census, 1895 (526,916 indexed records)

*  Iowa, Fayette County Probate Records, 1851-1927 (browse images only)

*  Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935 (696,160 indexed records)

*  Iowa State Census, 1885 (503,573 indexed records)

Not all of these collections are complete - the record collection description will usually describe the percentage complete and the counties included.  For instance, the Iowa County Marriages, 1838-1934  collection is 86% complete, and the page lists the counties included.

These records are all from state indexes or records that were microfilmed over the years by the LDS Family History Library and recently digitized by FamilySearch and indexed by volunteers for researchers to use for free.

I use records like these to enrich my family tree - I have Seaver, Carringer, and Vaux families in my database with Iowa vital records events.

One lesson here is to check the collection list periodically for updates.  The screen shown above is in Date Updated order - 5 of the 8 collections have been updated since late September 2012.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, October 29, 2012

Anyone Else Notice that Right Answer to Today's Ancestry Death Records Contest was Incorrect?

I just went to the Ancestry Death Records Contest ( to try to win an iPad... (note that this particular contest ends on Tuesday, 30 October).  Here is the question to be answered:

"It’s the 6th of February, 1925 and there’s a drama unfolding on the pages of the Charleston Daily Mail. William Floyd Collins is trapped in Sand Cave, near Cave City, Kentucky. He’s been there since January 30th.

"The country has been riveted by the daily reports on the story–and today is an especially poignant time in the continuing saga. This was supposed to be William’s wedding day. But instead, his betrothed, Alma Clark, waits at the mouth of the cave for news of his rescue.
"How does this story end?
  1. He dies from exposure on the 17th of February.
  2. He is rescued on the 7th of February and married that afternoon.
  3. He dies exactly one year later in a car accident.
  4. He is rescued on the 10th of February, but his fiancée refuses to marry him."
In my humble opinion, none of the four answers is correct, although one has the correct answer but is off by one day!  I checked that one, since there was no answer choice for "None of the above!"

Did anyone else note this?  I'll update this post on Tuesday with the correct answer (IMHO) along with the evidence.

UPDATED Wednesday, 31 October:  The record that contains the answers to this contest is:

The newspaper page is dated 16 February 1925, and the article clearly states that William Floyd Collins was found dead on 16 February 1925, not died on 17 February 1925 as the closest correct answer to the contest question indicates.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver has General Land Office Record Collection

I was perusing the long list of new record collections on this morning (at and noticed that the U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 was added on 8 October 2012, with over 2.4 million records.

I had worked in the government website ( for these records previously, but it become difficult to use (I'm still waiting after 5 minutes for the capability to search - maybe a hurricane problem?) and wondered if I had missed any of my ancestral families when I searched one person at a time.  The indexing makes this task a lot easier.

The Ancestry collection description is:

This database contains approximately 2.2 million land patents, primarily cash and homestead, from 1820-1908 for the following states:
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin
A land patent is a document recording the passing of a land title from the government, or other proprietor, to the patentee/grantee. This is the first-title deed and the true beginning of private ownership of the land. The patent describes in legal terms the land to which the title is given. 
I wanted to capture the documents for Ranslow Smith, the adoptive father of my second great-grandfather, Devier J. Smith.  I knew that he was in these records.
1)  The U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907  record search page has the typical search fields:

2)  There were two matches for Ranslow Smith:

3)  I clicked on the earliest one and the record summary appeared:

4)  I clicked on the "View Original image" link and the document appeared:

I can download and save this record for my computer files, and attach it to Ranslow Smith in my Ancestry Member Tree.
The source citation that Ancestry provides for this record is: U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

I'll work on an Evidence! Explained quality source citation for this record sometime soon and add it here.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Edward Larkin (1611-1652) of Charlestown, Mass.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several years ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the probate file of
 Edward Larkin (1611-1652) of Charlestown, Massachusetts.  He married Joanna Hale (??) in 1639 and they had six children:  John Larkin (1640-1678), Elizabeth Larkin (1641-1719); Hannah Larkin (1643-1704); Thomas Larkin (1644-1677), Sarah Larkin (1648-1725), and Joanna Larkin (1649-1713).

Edward Larkin died testate, having written a will on 15 7th month 1651, which was proved in the Probate Court on 6 2nd month 1652.  The will reads (Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Probate Packet 13,609, accessed on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 0,416,788, original papers in probate packet, transcribed by Randy Seaver):

"15th of ye 12th month 1651

"I Edward Larkin being weake in body yitt having perfitt memory and understanding doe make this my last will and Testament in manner and forme following.

"Imprimus I committ my soule to God who made it and gave it And I only rely and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, I comitt my body to bee decently buried,

"I alsoe give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Jone Larkin A full third pt of my estate:  it being rightly valewed, to bee first deducted, And more I alsoe give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Jone Larkin the full sume of five pounds likewise to be first deducted out of my estate: and these twoo parts to remaine with my whole estate in her hands untill the tyme of the division of My Estate and payment of my childrens portions as hereunder is specified.

"I alsoe give and bequeath unto my eldest son John Larkin a dubbell portion of my estate after my wife has hers out of the whole and my will is that my son John shall let his portion remaine in my wifes hands until he bee twenty and one years ould and then my wife with the other executer to pay his portion to him upon demand:  but if hee or any of my children also doe dye before they have receaved their portions then it to be equally divided to my wife and the other children who remaine then alive:  provided alsoe that if the Lord shall please to take away my wife by death before the childrens portions bee payd then my will and I desire the Deacons of our church to joyne with the other executor to so order and dispose of that portions wch I bequeath to my children as may be most advantagious to their benefitt until they have them payed unto them, Alsoe if my wife shall marry before the legacies bee paid then my will is that he whom she marries and shee shall retaine the legacies in their hands till the due tyme aforementioned provided they put in sufficient security that the childrens portions may be preserved for them.

As for my son Thomas and my daughters Elizabeth, Sarah, Johanna: and the child with which my wife now goes and is bigg wth I doe hereby will and bequeath unto each of them a equal portion of my estate which remains after my wife and son John have theirs to be paid them by my executors if they live or by the Deacons (of sd church then Being) at their ages of twenty years: but as before if any of them Decease in the meane tyme then the survivors or survivor to have it equally amongst them or given to him or her if only one surviving:

"John Green    .............................................................. Edward Larkin
John Pentecost

"This will was presented to ye Court the 6th of ye (2) 1652 and by them accepted upon Record.
P me Tho: Danforth Recorder"

On the reverse of the will was:

"As for my daughter Hannah whom my beloved brother and sister Penticost have taken into their hands to keep and provide for I doe give and bequeath unto her ten shillings to bee layed out in good books for her at her Age of eighteen years to be delivered unto her

"And I Edward Larkin doe entreat my beloved brother Robert Hale to Joyne with my beloved wife Jone Larkin and to bee my full and sole execitors of this my last will and Testament the day and date before written"

An inventory was taken on 14 11th month 1651:  

"A True Inventory of the lands, housing and goods of Edward Larkin wheelmaker of Charltowne Lately Desesed Prised and truly vallewed by Robert Hale, Thomas Brigden and John Penticost."

The inventory totaled 123 pounds, 19 shillings and 6 pence. The real property included a dwelling house and a yard, a marsh, hay lot, two acres of planting ground on "mysticke syde" valued at 90 pounds.  The personal property included his wearing apparel, furniture, household possessions, firearms, tools, lumber and books.

Edward Larkin is one of my 9th great-grandfathers, through his daughter, Sarah Larkin (1648-1725), who married John Wheeler (1643-1713) in 1664 in Concord, Massachusetts.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Sunday, October 28, 2012

CVGS Program on 31 October: "Discovering Jane's Roots..."

The October general meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be Wednesday, 31 October, at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Auditorium.

The Program Speaker is CVGS Member Randy Seaver, on “Discovering Jane's Roots in California, Australia and England”

In this presentation, Randy will explore the research journey to find the ancestors of his wife's great-grandmother, Jane (Whittle) McKnew (1847-1921). She married in Gold Country, had a family of 11 children, survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and died in San Francisco.  Jane was born in Australia to parents who were born and married in England. Most of the research was done with online resources and in a collaborative environment. Come watch Randy unveil a fascinating family history worthy of a “Who Do You Think You Are?” television episode.

Randy Seaver is a native San Diegan. His ancestry is mainly colonial New England and Upper Atlantic, with some colonial German, French and Dutch forebears, and several 19th-century English immigrants. He has been pursuing his elusive ancestors since 1988, and has been online since 1992. 

Randy is a former President of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, and is currently the Newsletter Editor and Research Chair. He speaks to Southern California societies, libraries and groups, teaches "Beginning Computer Genealogy" adult classes at OASIS, and writes the Genealogy 2.0 column for the FGS FORUM magazine. He is a member of NGS, NEHGS, SCGS, SDGS, CGSSD and CVGS. Randy blogs daily about genealogy subjects at Genea-Musings ( and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (

There will be a short business meeting before the speaker, and refreshments before and after the meeting at the back of the Auditorium.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver